Vegan Living and Dude Ranches Don’t Mix

Here at Vickers Ranch, carnivorism is a way of life and a vegan is as popular as a pork chop in a synagogue.

On Wednesday evenings, everyone gathers on Gold Hill, a breathtaking spot overlooking Lake San Cristobal and the San Juan Mountains.

Slabs of meat (mostly beef) are grilled to perfection on a cowboy-style, wood-flame grill and home-cooked potluck dishes grace the sidelines.

Since 90 percent of Lake City’s visitors consist of Texans and Oklahomans escaping the brutal summer heat, potluck dishes tend to be buttery, eggy, cheesy and fried. . . and usually damn good.

Just two days later, the Vickers family holds another weekly get-together at the Friday night burger feed. You’ll find me babysitting the lonely veggie burger on the grill. Beans with bacon, chips and a five foot table filled with tasty potluck deserts complete our Friday meals.

A vegan can’t fall farther from the wagon than when visiting a dude ranch. Last week, one couple invited us to their cabin for dinner. On the menu: freshly caught rainbow trout appetizers. The husband was so proud of his catch, and the dish really was pretty….how could I resist?

Eating any kind of beef, poultry or other living creature is off-limits for me, but I refuse to be the kind of VegaNazi who can’t be open-minded enough to let loose once and a while and eat vegetable dishes that have been co-mingled with animal products.

I tasted the best homegrown Texas black-eyed peas simmered in a bacon broth this week. Was I going to miss the opportunity to experience a local culinary treasure, home-grown and handmade by a guest? Nope, not me.

Call me a hypocrite, but I’m going out of my comfort zone and loving it. Will this make me a carnivore after 22 years of not eating meat? Never. Just open-minded enough to know a good thing when I see it.

5 thoughts on “Vegan Living and Dude Ranches Don’t Mix”

  1. This reminds me of waaaay back when I was a vegetarian. Met Paul’s cuban grandparents who had proudly made vegetarian lasagna just for me. When I (hesitatly) pointed out that it had meat in it, his grandma answered “but it’s just a little bit”….hehehe….

  2. Hey! I LIKE your attitude! I’m gonna search your website for Vegan cooking ideas on the road. My frig is still iffy, although, when parked on a hill or the beach with a breeze, I have no problem it works! But still a challenge for meat or veggies. So I’ve been trying to think of thinks that I can bring along that don’t require refrigeration.

    I have to say, reading this post makes my mouth water…love the smell of burning flesh at a BBQ. (I know, sic). Let’s just say, I’m not a tea-totaler veggie carnivoire. (But if you make a veggie meal, I’ll scarf it up and not miss the meat!

    Still working on that lemonade!

  3. When the going gets tough just chew a little harder, your teeth will love it.

    The word “gristle” speaks to us all in a heart palpitating fashion. I reflect back on the time I ate at the Trail Dust in Dallas, Texas, some years back, a place where you pick the cow, then the steak, talk about freshness and service!

    I had their classic rib-eye and oh man did the gristle get this young heart palpitating. Beef is true Americana, save for Argentina, what other country has dedicated so many acres to it’s cultivation? It is rare (hee hee) to eat steak in Europe unless a jockey had spent time on it’s back prior to it’s preparation. This happened to me in France. I chewed and chewed and chewed but my jowls were not up to the task, I had to expel that meat from my exhausted face and go with rabbit and rabbit does not hold a fork up to beef.

    When did we as a hominid begin to savor that ever lovin’ flavor of sweet red meat? Was it back in the age of mammoth? Maybe we first found succulent satisfaction in Crovalces, or Eohippus, or maybe that playful scamp commonly known as Idricotherium? It’s hard to say as the records are sketchy, but visit the Trail Dust some time and you’ll know that beef is a pillar of the Texan diet. We’re a big people us Americans and we like big meals, go to France and you’ll consume sprigs and medallions but hardly ever a whopping blanket of beef or whatever meat like meat.

    Folks in Europe eat smaller portions, own smaller houses, drive smaller cars, live in smaller communities, it’s all a lot smaller and more dense and as goes the culture so goes the food. Would any snaggletoothed Frenchmen give a snaggletooth to ride the plains of Texas or Colorado and then close the evening with beans, bacon, biscuits, and beef? You bet your snaggleteeth he would (or she).

    The myth of the lone ranger or the silent brooding wanderer is exactly that, a myth. The cowboy, or with deference to Rene’s notions of contemporary PC, the “cowperson” whose demeanor was distant or understated might be true but a loner I think not. Independence of spirit and mind, sure, but think about this, the so called Wild West was all about co-dependence and mutual support, how else could our numbers have multiplied across stolen Indian lands otherwise; I’ll help you build a fence if you help me dig an outhouse and so on. Steak, or rather cattle, had it’s part to play in our nations expansion as this was the food of the people of the 1800s and for some, it still is.

    All told, steak in moderation is more than just animal tissue whose consumption can be debated on moral and ethical grounds (mmmmm, grounds…), but rather to me, steak is a haunch of gristle laden goodness whose savory release with each bite makes eating the joy that it should always be. That much we have learned from the French.

    Enrico strikes again and again and again…

    • Your gristle-chewin’ expansive mentality would go over well here Enrico. Come on up, your outhouse-diggin, rainforest depleting buddies are waiting.

      But Crovalces, Eohippus and Idricotherium?

      Them’s $20 diller werds ’round these parts, mister. Don’t be using them here or they’ll think you’re one of those Frenchies.


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